Raphael Varane is set to return to Real Madrid despite reports that a move to Manchester United is edging closer.
The France international will return to Madrid’s training facilities this week as they continue their preparations for the new season, but it is increasingly likely he has played his final game for the club.
The 28-year-old received the offer of a new contract from the Spanish giants prior to Euro 2020 but he is yet to respond amid suggestions he wants a new challenge in his career.
The central defender has spent the past ten years in the Spanish capital and United are prepared to launch a bid this week amid encouragement of a deal being concluded.
A report in Marca on Monday outlines that Varane is due to return to Madrid’s training complex this week having been afforded time off following Euro 2020.
The defender was part of the France squad who were eliminated from the competition by Switzerland at the Round of 16 stage and has been on holiday for the past three weeks with his wife Camille and their two children.
United are reported by the Manchester Evening News to be inching closer to a deal with discussions ongoing between the clubs while The Guardian report that a bid is imminent.
It is claimed that a transfer fee is unlikely to be a sticking point between the clubs following informal discussions and United are confident the player – who is out of contract next summer – will agree terms on a contract through to 2026.
The Frenchman and Madrid share a strong relationship and that will ease any exit process with a speedy outcome desirable for all parties.
Varane’s long-term central defensive partner and club captain Sergio Ramos left the Spanish capital earlier this summer after a 16-year long career and has subsequently joined Paris Saint-Germain.
Marcelo is the new club captain; Varane is third in the standings behind Karim Benzema and is just five trophies shy of Paco Gento’s Real Madrid record of 23 titles won with the club.
Varane has won three La Liga titles and four Champions Leagues in his decade-long stay at Real Madrid, whom he joined from French club Lens in 2011.
United’s interest in the player stretches back to that summer – when they had attempted to land the player from Lens but were usurped by Madrid, whose sporting director at the time was Zinedine Zidane.
Varane is a boyhood fan of the Red Devils and Rio Ferdinand was his icon, while he is now viewed as an elite central defender who could be a long-term defensive partner for Harry Maguire.
The defender starred for France in their World Cup success in 2018 – a tournament in which he played every minute – and he could become United’s second signing of the summer following a deal for Jadon Sancho.